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Texas Hold'em Poker: No. 1 Poker Game in the World

Texas Hold'em Poker is the most famous variation of Poker at the present time and as well as the most popular Poker game played online over the Internet. Texas Hold'em Poker is extremely aggressive, entertaining and exciting. The rules of Texas Hold'em are quite simple. However a precise play requires a lot of experience.

If you are a novice we recommend visiting Poker rules and classic Poker Draw pages first, where you will find detailed information on the rules, strategic principles, card hands and rankings, chances (true odds) to get and improve your hand, “Money to Pot ratio” rule, Poker strategy, psychology and bluffing.

The Principles of Texas Hold'em Poker

Texas Hold'em Poker is basically an adaptation of Seven-Card Stud. In Texas Hold'em Poker the players are dealt two cards face down initially. The remaining cards (from three up to five cards) are dealt face side up, that is visibly, and they are common for all players (so called Community Cards).

If you like Texas Hold'em you may be also interested in even more complex Omaha Hold'em Poker (Omaha High).

Course of Play and Betting in Texas Hold'em Poker

After each player is dealt two cards face down, the initial betting proceeds. In the first round the two players sitting on the dealer's left hand are required to put in blind bets in the pot. The first player puts in Small Blind, the second player Big Blind, which is a double of the Small Blind (e.g. 10 and 20 chips).

The remaining players are not obliged to any Ante bets. However if they wish to stay in the game they have to at least call the Big Blind (or fold). The player, sitting at the left of the player who was required to give the Big Blind, opens bets (or calls or raises). The other players follow and the round ends with the player who put in the Big Blind.

The blinds rotate in the upcoming rounds. The player who put in the Big Blind is now required to put in the Small Blind, the player to his or her left must put in the Big Blind etc. The blinds are usually increased after a specific number of rounds or time, e.g. 15/30, 20/40 etc.

The online Poker tournaments are titled according to the speed the blinds increase. The usual interval is 6–7 minutes. Quicker tournaments are called Turbo with an interval of 3 minutes or even Super Turbo with a deadly tempo of 1 minute. But let us not anticipate!

After the initial betting the dealer deals three cards at the same time – the Flop, followed by up to two more cards (dealt by one) – called the Turn and the River. The players can bet after each card, so there are four intervals for betting – see the illustration below. Of course the cards are dealt only and as long as all players in the game agree upon the amount of bets (they have to call).

Card face down Card face down » Initial betting » Card face up Card face up Card face up » 2nd (Flop) » Card face up » 3rd (Turn) » Card face up » 4th (River)

The player with the highest hand wins the pot. The hand represents five cards created by the strongest-possible combination of two own cards and from three (Flop) to five (Turn, River) common cards. It may happen that players neither call nor raise, then the player who put in the Big Blind is the winner (he or she is the last on turn and "bet" the highest amount).

Texas Hold'em Strategy

Because there are up to five cards common for all players, the fight for the pot can be very tight. Moreover it is not definite, which combination of two cards is the best, since the power of the hand can change fundamentally after the deal of further cards.

As regards the Texas Hold'em strategy it can be said that Ace with a high card is a good initial hand. The hand is always better if the cards are of the same color. Sometimes even two Aces (the most promising hand you can get) do not have to guarantee success. If for example 9, 10, J appeared in the Flop, then it would be probable (you can also have a look at common myths and mistakes when assessing the probability) that someone can get Queen and King and would beat you with Straight.

On the other hand the Ace with a low card, e.g. seven, should not be overestimated. If someone else had the Ace too with a Queen for example, then he or she would beat you even if another Ace appeared in the Flop – because the cards are common and Queen is higher than Seven. Should you beat that player, another seven would have to appear in the Flop, in addition it could be another Queen!

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Place at the Table in Texas Hold'em Poker

There are usually 10 players sitting at the table. The order of betting in Texas Hold'em is even more important than in other variations of Poker. Generally in Poker: the closer the player sits to the dealer's left the more requirements as regards opening are put on him or her.

In Texas Hold'em Poker the betting order is different. The player on the Big Blind has the last word, which is a kind of compensation for the Ante bet. If there are only two players left in the game, then the player with a Small Blind begins.

The first player on turn should open only if he or she feels that he or she has the best hand. Otherwise the other players with better hands could raise. The players in the middle may open with an average hand. The last player has all possibilities open as he or she knows what his or her opponents have done. If it is cheap, he or she may try to raise or check even with a weak hand and hope for improvement.

Table 1: Recommended Hands to Open Bets in Texas Hold'em Poker
Seat at the TableRecommended Hand to Open
1.A-A, K-K, A-K
2.A-K, Q-Q, A-Q, A-J, K-Q
3.A-Q, A-J, A-10
4.K-Q, K-J, Q-J, J-10
5.J-J, 10-10
6.A-10, A-x, K-10
7.K-J, Q-J, Q-10, 10-9, J-9, J-10, 9-8
8.9-9, 8-8, A-x
9.8-7, 7-6, 6-5, 5-4
10.7-7, 6-6, 5-5, 4-4, 3-3, 2-2

Note: The combinations of two cards of the same color are in Italics, e.g. Ace and King of Hearts, Spades, Clubs or Diamonds; small "x" represents any card lower than 10.

Evaluation of Winning Chances in Texas Hold'em Poker

The crucial moment of the game comes after the deal of Flop. Five cards are a good basis to conceive of your winning chances. If you have a high pair and a strong side card combined with the Flop, you should bet. With Two Pairs or Three of a Kind you should raise.

If you have a good hand, bet on it! – In Texas Hold'em Poker it is not worth just checking and hoping to trap into your opponents. Because if it is cheap they can go on and complete their Straight or Flush that would finally beat you.

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